July 18, 2024
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RETIREMENT

Sightings Over Sixty: Simple Pleasures

Sightings Over Sixty: Simple Pleasures

It seems that most of the retirement advice we get these days is either about money — when to start taking Social Security, how to invest your 401K — or else about how to find meaning in life — you have to volunteer somewhere or maybe find a job.

Well, that might be true in the early days of retirement, especially if you retire young, in your 50s or early 60s. But the older we get, the more it seems like the simple pleasures become more important.

Here are a few of my simple pleasures. Maybe you have some others you can suggest.

Dinner. I really enjoy sitting down for a hot meal at the end of the day. I’m lucky that I have a companion (my wife) to have dinner with. We go through a little ritual of how we get dinner ready (which includes lighting a candle), and then we talk about the day, gossip about friends, maybe make plans for an outing. Nothing important. But, somehow, it’s important.

Netflix. Okay, I admit it. I look forward to my TV time after dinner — sometimes with B, when we find a show we both like, sometimes by myself, if it’s something too crude or too violent for her to want to watch.

Reading. I read about one book a week. Some are better than others. But I like to start the morning by reading for half an hour or so, with a cup of coffee by my side, just to ease into the day. And I don’t know how I would ever fall asleep at night without reading myself into somnolence.

Gardening. To be honest, I am not much of a gardener. I haven’t done anything in the yard in months. Maybe that’s why I’m looking forward to going outside and getting my hands dirty — breathing the fresh air, smelling the earth, making our little corner of the world look a tiny bit better.

Breakfast. They say in retirement you need some meaning in life, a reason to get up in the morning. For me, it’s breakfast. I love that first cup of coffee. I eat some fruit. Cantaloupe is my favorite. I usually have cereal with 2% milk; every once in a while I cook myself an egg (or three).

Crossword puzzles. I started doing them during Covid. Now I can’t stop.

Learning. I like tackling something a little bit challenging, but not too hard. Right now I’m learning how to do Powerpoint, because I’ve signed up to make a presentation in the fall for my senior learning group.

Sports. I’m about as good at sports as I am at gardening — meaning, not very good. I used to play Ping Pong. Lately, I’ve been on the pickleball court. When the weather warms up I’ll start playing some golf. Occasionally, I go for a walk. I really do not like to exercise. I find it boring. But if I can get exercise while hitting a ball . . . why, that’s what I call interesting!

So maybe you find your small pleasure in doing your taxes? Or following March Madness? If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 70 years . . . it takes all kinds.

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